black girl, no magic: reflections on race and respectability

By Kimberly McIntosh

‘This book is a glowing achievement by one of the best essayists of her generation’ Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

‘Witty, fresh and full of life’ Liv Little

‘I can’t recommend more highly… it’s one of those books that I just want to press in the hands of everybody’ Damian Barr, Literary Salon Podcast


Kimberly McIntosh has lived a full life, with a loving family, messy friendships, mind-expanding travel and all-night parties. She’s also spent that life wondering why such opportunities aren’t always available to people who look like her.

Stemming from years of social policy research and campaign work, this essay collection brings together all that Kimberly has learned; whether that’s dismantling the myth of social mobility for those who toe the line, to understanding why her teenage Facebook posts are quite so cringe. In it, she uses her own experiences to reveal how systematic injustice impacts us all, from the pressure of nuclear families, to enduring toxic friendships, to how painful it can be to watch Love Island.

Perfect for fans of Slay In Your Lane, Trick Mirror, and Bad Feminist, this dazzling debut collection brilliantly melds the personal and political to not only tell the story of a life, but what that life might teach us.

Format: Paperback
Release Date: 11 Apr 2024
Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-0-00-847708-0
Kimberly McIntosh is a writer and researcher. She has written for a range of publications including the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Independent, the Metro and Vice, and was the dating columnist at gal-dem between 2016-2020. Kimberly has discussed her research on BBC Radio 4 and 5 Live, BBC News and Sky News. She is a trustee at Wasafiri magazine, a quarterly British literary magazine covering international contemporary writing. black girl, no magic is her first book.

”'Black Girl, No Magic is a gorgeous essay collection: each piece of writing is a gem thanks to Kim's willingness to lay bare the truest parts of her lived experience and ground them in political realities. This book is a glowing achievement by one of the best essayists of her generation” - Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff

”'Kimberly's writing is witty, fresh and full of life” - Liv Little

”'In this engaging series of essays McIntosh takes aim at respectability politics with precision and humour. Every essay is a hit” - Dr Annabel Sowemimo

”'Kim’s writing is a joy. Her honesty and humour, her insights and observations invite us to be our whole selves, the good, the bad, the messy and the beautiful. Kim’s take on sex, British politics, mental health, intimacy, and race are some of the truest words I’ve read on these issues in a long time. You can see your real self in Kim’s words. And guess what? It doesn't feel too frightening. A delicious and wonderfully written collection” - Derek Bardowell, author of No Win Race & Giving Back

”'I can’t recommend more highly… it’s one of those books that I just want to press in the hands of everybody… no matter who you are it will make you interrogate your identity… it’s really entertaining, it’s very frank, and funny” - Damian Barr, Literary Salon Podcast